Steve definitely liked to think outside the box and quickly proved his concept in small specialty retailers around the country before leaping to grocery and major hotel and restaurant chains. When I mentioned it would be helpful for customers to get to know the different choices he was offering with a sampler pack as a gateway to purchasing a full case of one specific blend, Steve quickly accommodated and showed up at my shop one morning with our own custom packaging, calling out the cork Variety pack as the first sampler of his new venture. This started a relationship over the past 6 years that, while we were never close, each meeting with him always touched me in some way. I was lucky enough to stop by over the holidays and catch up with Steve one afternoon and it was apparent that despite his illness he was in great spirits about the company’s success and impending move to larger quarters.
Today, with news of Steve’s passing, it doesn’t feel appropriate to try and write to you about wine discoveries and give you a sales pitch to sell you something. Instead, I’d just like to say Thank You to Steve Smith for being one of those great spirits who touch the world and personally had an impact on my own growth as an entrepreneur. It’s tough to think he has left us, but the legacy he’s left behind with Stash, Tazo and most recently Smith Teamaker all will keep his memory alive. Raise a glass with some tea or some wine today and celebrate a life that was lived with great adventure and passion.
Our thoughts go out to Steve’s wife Kim, their family, and the employees at Smith Teamaker.